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Yakima homeless camp proposal upsets residents

Donna Markley has been a manager at The Village Shoppe on Fruitvale Boulevard for 10-years and said lately business has been great.

But with the possibility of a homeless camp directly across the street, that could soon change.

"It will affect us greatly with people not feeling safe in this area," said Donna Markley.  

The Yakima city council will vote on Tuesday whether to let allow a short-term homeless encampment at Fruitvale Boulevard and Castlevale road once cold weather shelters close.

This comes after advocates from transform Yakima together, a faith-based organization offered to manage the proposed camp, while city officials find a better location.

But even some councilmembers are doubting the short-term location.

"This is one of the areas that the city does own, but i am not completely sure that this is the best location," said Yakima councilmember Carmen Mendez.  

Residents who live right across from the city owned property, feeling frustrated as they fear what will come from this camp if opened.  

“I don't feel that my children should have to be subjected to that kind of environment there are plenty of other places that they could go," said Yakima resident Sheena Hanson.

While city officials said that this new camp would be up for only a couple months and operate under 24-hour security and staff

Business owners still not satisfied.

"This is just a temporary solution for them but it’s going to cause long-term effects for all of us," said Ted Motors owner Lisa Castillo.

As for Markley she said the community has worked too hard to keep business flowing and believes loss of revenue will be big.

"The effect that it will have financially on the businesses up and down Fruitvale it's going to be a hard hit to take," said Donna Markley.

For now she's hopeful the city will find a better solution.

Tomorrows vote will take place at city hall at 6:00 p.m.

If this homeless camp site is not approved the city will not have another option for the homeless once the shelters close mid-march.


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